Mismatched Socks Sold to Cure Blindness

| Friday September 12th, 2014 | 0 Comments
Stylish mismatched socks for men and women

SWAP Socks offers stylish mismatched socks for men and women.

The latest entrant in the one-for-one model popularized by TOMS shoes is SWAP Socks, makers of fashionably-mismatched socks. SWAP Socks will give 50 percent of its profits to the SEVA Foundation, an organization dedicated to providing sight to visually-impaired people around the world (coincidentally, the same partner TOMS chose for its eyeglass partnership).

Why focus on the visually impaired?

Well, for starters, blindness can be debilitating not only for an individual but also for a whole family because it pulls a potential-earner out of the workforce, and worse, often requires another family member to stay home in a caretaking capacity. These impacts are most stark in the developing world. The statistics are dramatic: 246 million people struggle with low-vision and 39 million live completely blind worldwide. Ninety percent of these  live in the developing world, and 80 percent of these cases can be prevented or cured with routine or simple eye care — from antibiotics to outpatient cataract surgery.

I got to learn about how debilitating total blindness can be at the kickoff event for SWAP Socks’ Indiegogo campaign, held at Opaque restaurant in San Francisco. 

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Are Crowdfunded Companies Socially Responsible?

CSRHUB | Friday September 12th, 2014 | 0 Comments

The following is part of a series by our friends at CSRHub (a 3p sponsor) – offering free sustainability and corporate social responsibility ratings on over 8,900 of the world’s largest publicly traded and private companies. 3p readers get 15 percent off CSRHub’s professional subscriptions with promo code “TP15.″

8661000014_cb0056d718_zBy Bahar Gidwani

Over the past few years, thousands of companies both in the U.S. and abroad have raised funds through crowdfunding.  Wikipedia defines the term as:

 “the collection of finance from backers — the “crowd” — to fund an initiative and usually occurs on Internet platforms. The initiative could be a nonprofit (e.g. to raise funds for a school or social service organization), political (to support a candidate or political party), charitable (e.g. emergency funds for an ill person or to fund a critical operation), commercial (e.g. to create and sell a new product) or financing campaign for a startup company.”

We could expect crowdfunding to be especially attractive for younger entrepreneurs.  These millennials tend to embrace newer, online methods of raising money — especially since they may not have previous experience raising funding through traditional means. Companies managed by millennials might also have more socially-positive styles of management than traditional companies and may target markets that care about sustainability and social issues.  As a result, we were hopeful that we could combine the 59 million data points in our CSRHub sustainability metrics database with data from Crowdnetic, and reveal a connection between crowdfunding and positive corporate social responsibility (CSR) performance.

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5 Tips for Engaging With Your Community in a New Location

3p Contributor | Friday September 12th, 2014 | 0 Comments
Chipotle

Chipotle understood the value of community engagement when it aligned itself with the local food movement. But you don’t have to roll out a large-scale campaign like Chipotle to forge connections with the local community.

By Cris Burnam

There’s a lot of strength behind big brands. They can set up shop (or stock the shelves) in almost any market, and consumers know exactly what they’re getting when doing business with that brand.

Take Apple, for example. When consumers see the monochromatic logo, they know what to expect: a product that’s made well and easy to use. Coca-Cola has a somewhat similar advantage in the marketplace. As do Ford, Budweiser, Subway and General Electric.

But that’s not to say there isn’t value in being a local business. By and large, consumers want to support their local economy. They see small businesses as customer-focused, reliable, consistent, committed and just plain easier to do business with.

Obviously, you can’t do much to convince a community that you’re local when you’re not. It would be foolish to even try. But you can involve yourself in the community and in the activities that support that community. In fact, 82 percent of consumers consider the corporate social responsibility (CSR) efforts of a company when making purchase decisions.

Chipotle understood this when it aligned itself with the local food movement. As part of its “Food With Integrity” campaign, the fast-food chain committed to using 10 million pounds of local produce throughout its restaurants in 2012. It also supported family farms that raise animals naturally without antibiotics or added hormones.

Get involved

You don’t have to roll out a large-scale campaign like Chipotle to forge connections with the local community. Here are five key techniques you can utilize:

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Drought, California Agriculture and Water Efficiency: Why Farmers Must Adapt

Gina-Marie Cheeseman
| Friday September 12th, 2014 | 2 Comments

VineyardThe entire state of California is in a drought. A big part of the state, including the fertile Central Valley, is experiencing the worst category of drought, exceptional. California supplies much of the fruits, vegetables and nuts the nation eats. In inland areas such as the Central Valley, as well as the combined Sacramento and San Joaquin valleys, agriculture truly rules.

While people in Southern California and the Bay Area are largely insulated from the effects of the drought, people in the Central Valley are being hit hard. Some wells in the town of Easton, the small farming community in Fresno County where I was raised, are going dry; and two businesses have closed as a result. Meanwhile, farmers are resorting to over-pumping groundwater. They have no choice. They want to survive. America wants to eat.

Agriculture takes up 80 percent of the state’s water supply. Some crops need more water than others. Tree crops, for example, need more water than vineyards. Almonds are one tree crop that is experiencing great growth, fueled in part by studies that show the health benefits of eating almonds and past drops in the price of raisins. As a result, almonds are California’s largest export; state farmers grow 80 percent of the world’s supply, and 99 percent of all almonds grown in the U.S. hail from California. However, the drought is certain to affect the almond industry. As an opinion piece by Market Watch points out, “This unprecedented drought threatens to slam the brakes on one of the state’s fastest-growing crops and biggest moneymakers.” When the 2014-2015 crop goes to market next year, consumers will certainly be hit with higher almond prices.

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Flip the Thinking on the Three Rs: Join the Reuse Movement

3p Contributor | Friday September 12th, 2014 | 0 Comments
Ira Baseman with Remberto Perez, in Inuique, Chile.

Ira Baseman with Remberto Perez, one of Community Recycling’s clothing buyers, in Inuique, Chile.

By Ira Baseman

Recently, there has been a lot of invigorating discussion from sustainable business leaders in the apparel industry about implementing take-back programs to recycle clothing and accessories. After all, it is estimated that more than 70 pounds per consumer, or nearly 22 billion pounds of clothing, shoes and accessories annually, end up in our solid waste stream — representing 5 percent of landfills. To be sure, retailers and manufacturers are playing a strong role by raising awareness about this problem of overburdened landfills and encouraging consumers to become part of the solution. I want to elevate the discussion and challenge business leaders to consider a new model for recycling that is focused on reuse, unprecedented convenience and personal engagement that is meaningful and impactful. In my work, I see a new wave of conscious consumerism taking hold, and I like to refer to this as the ‘reuse movement.’

The reuse movement is about making recycling personal. It is about creating and delivering an experience for consumers and a new (corporate social responsibility CSR) journey for retailers and other stakeholders. Each single, personal act of recycling creates local community benefits, such as reusing materials or turning them into new products, and it creates a global impact such as generating new jobs, connecting people through recycling and ultimately reducing waste.

For the retail industry, a new program within the reuse movement allows consumers to recycle clothing shoes, and accessories without leaving their homes – for free. Through a customized portal designed for the retailer, consumers are invited to simply box up their items, print out a free shipping label and place the box on their doorstep for pick-up by their mail carrier. Once recyclers ship their items for reuse, they are invited to their own environmental dashboard where they receive a personalized sustainability report, track the path of their recyclables across the world and share their success through social media channels to showcase their personal impact. For the recycler, this experience is personal, measurable and impactful. For the retailer/manufacturer, this is frictionless, traceable and builds a sustainability record that is easily deliverable to all stakeholders.

One such leader embracing this program in the reuse movement is Original Penguin. The company offers this opportunity to its consumers online and in-store (receipt promotions) with little to no labor impact, which showcases how the company is reducing its environmental footprint. Thus far, Original Penguin, has engaged its consumers in more than 20 states, which are all traceable back to each patron.

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Researchers Find Hidden Value in Carbon Offsets

| Thursday September 11th, 2014 | 3 Comments

ImperialICROATitleClimate change skeptics and deniers habitually assert that cutting carbon emissions and putting a price on carbon would jeopardize economic growth and job creation. Hence, by their reasoning, we’re better off living with the rising costs and profound threats resulting from rising greenhouse gas emissions and a warming climate.

Research carried out by Imperial College London in partnership with the International Carbon Reduction and Offsetting Alliance (ICROA) indicates otherwise. In Unlocking the Hidden Value of Carbon Offsetting, the researchers conclude that investing in carbon offset credit programs yields significant social, environmental and economic returns beyond greenhouse gas emissions reductions.

According to the research results, investing in voluntary carbon emissions offset credit programs creates economic development opportunities, enhances environmental conservation, and improves people’s lives by realizing a host of social benefits that range from household savings and health benefits to healthier water resources. Overall, they determined that the additional value – beyond emissions reductions – of each metric ton of carbon emissions avoided by purchasing offset credits totals $664. Ipso facto, they add, carbon offset credits are systemically undervalued.

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Fast Food Sales: “That’s Not Ketchup…It’s Blood”

Bill Roth | Thursday September 11th, 2014 | 0 Comments

Whats_Hot_Top10McDonald’s store sales just took another nose-dive. Global same store sales tanked more than three percent. One investment analyst entitled his analysis of McDonald’s prospective sales growth as “That’s not ketchup…it’s blood.”

The three stated reasons for McDonald’s sales declines were: competition; the company’s own missteps, including a TV story in China showing work associates mishandling chicken; and “shifting consumer tastes.” The harsh sales reality for McDonald’s and other fast food retailers is that consumers increasingly associate eating their food with being fat and unhealthy. For the millennial generation focused on being “cool with a purpose,” the eating of fast food is definitely not cool or purposeful.

Fast food schizophrenia damages brand equity

The marketing of fast food is schizophrenic. Fast food used to be well understood by consumers as being cheap, tasty and convenient. Now the same fast food restaurant chain will run simultaneous schizophrenic ads where it promotes a healthy chicken wrap in one ad and its supersized hamburger loaded with bacon and cheese in another. This marketing schizophrenia only serves to undermine the customer’s understanding of the chain’s core values. In comparison, Chipotle’s stock continues to soar to record levels based on its singular marketing focus of selling sustainably-sourced, good food.

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Stronger Local and Trans-border Policies Needed to Tackle Air Pollution

GreenFutures
GreenFutures | Thursday September 11th, 2014 | 0 Comments

By Ibrahim Maiga

The World Health Organization (WHO) recently sounded the alarm about global air quality. In the 1,600 cities it monitors, only 12 percent of people breathe air that falls within its quality guidelines. In February of this year, the concentration of pollutants in the air in Beijing and Shanghai was more than 20 times WHO limits. But Delhi was the city found to have the world’s highest annual average concentration of PM2.5 – fine particulate matter measuring less than 2.5 microns, and considered the most harmful form of air pollution to human health, the WHO reported in May.

These are just the statistics we know about: The WHO recently told the Guardian some of the worst cities for air pollution “are not collecting data regularly.”

The good news is that the policies and technologies that are needed to address the two main causes of all this air pollution – heavy industry and vehicles – have been tried and tested for decades now. “Effective policies restrict the amount [of pollutants] that various polluters can emit, and then companies have options about how they choose to do it,” says Deborah Seligsohn, an environmental policy analyst specializing in China and India, based at the University of California, San Diego.

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What This 3-D Printed Lip Balm Jar Means for the Future of Cosmetics Packaging

Sherrell Dorsey
| Thursday September 11th, 2014 | 0 Comments

Anitas balm, 3d printing, 3d printing cosmetics, loreal, bio plastics, estee lauder, sustainable cosmetics, aveda, origins, cargo cosmetics, terracycle, lush cosmetics, eco friendly cosmetics, beauty productsMillions of cosmetic tubes, jars, caps, wands and other hard-to-recycle packaging materials are sent to landfills each year. Not only do our personal care packaging disposal habits wreak havoc on our waste streams, they also ask us to consider: To what extent of environmental costs are we willing to pay in order to maintain our beauty routines?

The onus doesn’t simply fall on the consumer to re-think the way we toss our toiletries. Mass-market brands like LUSH Cosmetics, Cargo Cosmetics and Aveda that have concentrated their efforts on producing smarter and easy-to-recycle lines have demonstratively served both people and planet with their business models.

“Sustainability in the beauty sector is not new given the efforts of brands such as Aveda CPR, Unilever compressed deodorant can, and Cargo now discontinued PlantLove lipstick eco-friendly formula with biodegradable packaging,” explains Tina-Gaye Bernard, cosmetics industry marketing consultant, founder of Cocoa Chic Beauty and former director of marketing for brands such as L’Oreal, Sue Devitt Beauty and Clinque. “Cosmetic industry manufacturers will continue to pursue cost and earth efficient improvements.”

In 2011, Garnier partnered with free waste collection programs TerraCyle to divert a significant portion of its packaging waste from landfills. Through the partnership, Garnier works with Terracycle to allow salons and individuals to recycle their packaging through the Personal Care and Beauty Brigade program — a free recycling program for hair care, skin care, and cosmetic product packaging, as well as a fundraising opportunity for participants. To date, the program has collected over 4 billion units of packaging waste and has raised over $82,000 dollars for charities.

But what if there was another way that cosmetics companies could marry both quality packaging with earth-friendly principles?

When entrepreneur Anita Redd, who faced a challenge when the packaging for her natural skin care products–Anita’s Balm, was discontinued by her supplier, she found cohesive solace between her all-natural lip balm line and a biodegradable jar she crafted with a 3-D printer. The bump in her proverbial road turned out to be just the challenge she needed to re-think her mission of marketing high-quality, natural products with guilt-free packaging.

Her custom designed and printed jars are now patent pending.

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‘More Than Me Academy’ Educates and Protects Vulnerable Girls in Liberia

3p Contributor | Thursday September 11th, 2014 | 0 Comments

Editor’s Note: This post originally appeared on the Erb Perspective blog, a publication of the Frederick A. and Barbara M. Erb Institute at the University of Michigan.

More Than Me Academy provides quality education to at-risk girls from the West Point slum of Liberia.

More Than Me Academy provides quality education to at-risk girls from the West Point slum of Liberia.

By Marianna Kerppola

As I entered the classroom, 26 girls between the ages of 10 and 18 chanted: “Welcome to More Than Me Academy. We are the girls of Power class, What is your name?” I answered “Marianna” and watched their charismatic teacher prompt the class to spell out my name phonetically as my heart melted.

More Than Me (MTM) Academy is a girls school in Monrovia, Liberia founded in September 2013. MTM enrolls 125 girls from a slum called West Point, a neighborhood known to have the highest rates of child prostitution in the country. MTM works towards making sure that “education and opportunity, not exploitation and poverty, define the lives of the most vulnerable girls from the West Point slum of Liberia.” Because of the 14-year civil war in Liberia, education has lagged for all children — but girls in particular. Most of the girls’ parents are illiterate, never having a chance to go to school while Charles Taylor pummeled the country. As a result, these families are stuck in a cycle of poverty, without the support of organizations, like MTM.

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Stories & Beer: Sept. 25 — Positive Tourism

Marissa Rosen
| Thursday September 11th, 2014 | 0 Comments

logo-2It’s time for a special “Stories and Beer” on Thursday, September 25 at 6:30 p.m. Pacific (9:30 Eastern) at the Impact HUB San Francisco.  We will be deviating from our usual format to bring you a series of presentations on positive tourism in honor of World Tourism Day (WTD).  Register here!

In support of WTD, Altruvistas, Travel Massive and the Adventure Travel Trade Association (ATTA) have combined forces to organize a special evening featuring an exciting line-up of speakers:

  • Rodney Fong; Commission VP, San Francisco Planning Commission
  • John Picard; Founder and CEO, John Picard and Associates
  • Malia Everette; Founder and CEO, Altruvistas 

World Tourism Day (WTD) was created  by the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) to raise awareness on the role of tourism within the international community and to demonstrate how it affects social, cultural, political and economic values worldwide. This year’s WTD will be headquartered in Guadalajara, Mexico, with complementary events all over the globe.

NOT IN SF? NO WORRIES! RETURN TO THIS PAGE ON SEPTEMBER 25 TO VIEW THE EVENT LIVE! 

Our event is volunteer-driven and will benefit ECPAT, the leading global anti-child trafficking in tourism organization. We’ll be raffling off tours and giveaways to support this wonderful organization.  Giveaways include prizes from Hotwire, Russian River Adventures, Incredible Adventures, Localite Tours, Magic Bus Savor Oakland and more.

Join the WTD conversation on social media at #WTD2014, and join our conversation at #3pChat.

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The End of Apartheid Litigation and the Future of Corporate Accountability

Michael Kourabas
| Thursday September 11th, 2014 | 2 Comments
Late last month,

Late last month, a New York District Court judge tossed the last of the apartheid-related cases pending against two American corporations, Ford and IBM.

The quest to hold corporations liable for alleged human rights abuses committed abroad was dealt another blow late last month when a New York District Court judge tossed the last of the apartheid-related cases pending against two American corporations, Ford and IBM.

In a begrudging bow to current precedent, U.S. District Judge Shira Scheindlin, of the Southern District of New York, denied plaintiffs’ motion to amend their complaint because they would be unable to meet the stringent demands of a test announced by the Second Circuit Court of Appeals earlier in the year.  More importantly, if the law of the Second Circuit becomes the law of the land, U.S. corporations could be effectively immune from civil liability for violations of international law that are perpetrated exclusively by foreign subsidiaries on foreign soil.

The Alien Tort Statute and a refresher on the Supreme Court’s Kiobel decision

The Alien Tort Statute (ATS) grants jurisdiction to U.S. District Courts “of all causes where an alien sues for a tort only in violation of the law of nation or of a treaty of the United States.”  As I described in an earlier piece for TriplePundit, the question of the ATS’ application to corporations is muddy.  In the seminal 2013 case, Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Petroleum (Kiobel), the Supreme Court affirmed the dismissal of a suit brought by Nigerian citizens who alleged that Shell and other oil companies aided in the Nigerian government’s violent suppression of resistance to drilling operations in Nigeria.  In affirming the holding of the Second Circuit, the majority held that, because all of the alleged human rights abuses occurred abroad, the plaintiffs could not overcome the presumption against the application of U.S. law to conduct occurring outside of the U.S. (aka “extraterritorial” application).

“Touch and concern”

In Kiobel’s most important passage, the Court added that:

 [E]ven where [plaintiffs’] claims touch and concern the territory of the United States, they must do so with sufficient force to displace the presumption against extraterritorial application. Corporations are often present in many countries, and it would reach too far to say that mere corporate presence suffices.  (my emphasis)

The Supreme Court did not define the all-important phrases, “touch and concern” or “sufficient force,” leading lower courts and pundits to fight about whether or not the opinion completely closed the door to lawsuits against corporations that allegedly violated international law in a country other than the U.S.  Further confusing the matter is that the Second Circuit, in its decision in the Kiobel case, held that the ATS “simply does not confer jurisdiction over suits against corporations,” and though the Supreme Court did not appear to go this far, it did affirm the Second Circuit’s holding.

Thus, after Kiobel, whether and/or how a corporation could be held liable under the ATS remains an open question.

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3p Traceability Week: Q&A with Flip Labs on Seafood Traceability

Mary Mazzoni
| Wednesday September 10th, 2014 | 14 Comments

Join Triple Pundit and a panel of experts for 3p Traceability Week to discuss traceability in four controversial arenas — seafood, fashion, minerals and medical marijuana.  Ask your questions in the comments section, and follow along hereThe Q&A closes on Tuesday, September 16. 

2836470601_80e8ea39c0_zFact: More than one-third of the seafood sold in North America is mislabeled, by either type of fish, catch method or provenance. And upwards of 24 million tons of seafood is caught and sold illegally every year.

Traceability is a hot-button issue in all supply chains, but when it comes to the food we eat, these figures become even more unsettling. As Cheryl Dahle, founder of Future of Fish and CEO of Flip Labs, noted in a recent op/ed on Triple Pundit: “Beyond what that deception may mean for your health, it is also a window to other more systemic challenges, including pirate fishing, human trafficking, and widespread fraud and corruption.”

She went on to explain that these problems can’t be addressed by a few consumers making the choice to “eat local.” “We need to rebuild the systems and behaviors of the global interconnected brokers, corporations and governments that touch your food before it hits your plate,” she wrote.

To accomplish this, stakeholders in the seafood industry have come together to compile verified data on where and how a fish is caught. Regulators already require any seafood caught or sold in the U.S. to provide documentation of where, when and how it was caught. But, as 3p correspondent Lauren Zanolli pointed out, that information is still often filed on paper forms, and there is no way of knowing if it will follow the right piece of seafood through the supply chain. So, naturally, some questions remain about how to improve traceability in seafood supply chains.

As part of 3p Traceability Week, Cheryl Dahle of  Flip Labs will be on-hand all week to answer your questions about seafood traceability. Respond with your questions in the comments section below!

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3p Traceability Week: Q&A with MJ Freeway on Medical Marijuana Traceability

Mary Mazzoni
| Wednesday September 10th, 2014 | 15 Comments

Join Triple Pundit and a panel of experts for 3p Traceability Week to discuss traceability in four controversial arenas — seafood, fashion, minerals and medical marijuana.  Ask your questions in the comments section, and follow along hereThe Q&A closes on Tuesday, September 16. 

4473997946_9140fb05b5_zSustainability is inching ever-closer to the mainstream, but it isn’t the only green revolution sweeping the nation. I’m referring, of course, to marijuana legalization. The “Reefer Madness” days are long gone: Medical marijuana sales are now permitted in 23 states and Washington, D.C., and two states (Washington and Colorado) have outright legalized marijuana for adults 21 and over.

The industry has proven to be a big money-maker — Colorado raked in about $12.6 million the first three months after marijuana was legalized — but some growing pains remain. Washington and Colorado, where recreational pot is legal, have seen a wave of ‘marijuana tourism.’ As flocks of tourists seek out a taste of legalized marijuana, some inexperienced smokers may catch a sour buzz — as New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd experienced firsthand when she took one too many bites of a pot edible while visiting Denver. As Dowd found out, some edibles do not include dosage instructions; the candy bar she ate, for example, was intended to be divided into 16 pieces for novices, but that recommendation was not included on the label.

When it comes to medical marijuana, these concerns can become even more pronounced. Things like dosage instructions, predictable levels of Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and verification that the marijuana contains no additives are necessary if the product is to be dispensed for therapeutic purposes. For both medical and recreational use, it is also pertinent for legal processors, infused product manufacturers and retailers to verify that the marijuana they sell was sourced from legal grow operations. All of these concerns make traceability a big issue for this fledgling industry.

As part of 3p Traceability Week, the MJ Freeway team will be on-hand all week to answer your questions about medical marijuana traceability. Based in Denver, Colorado, where both medical and recreational marijuana sales are legal, MJ Freeway provides software solutions that help producers, processors, infused product manufacturers and retailers track the product throughout the supply chain — from field to cash register. Respond with your questions in the comments section below!

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3p Traceability Week: Q&A with Indigenous on Fashion Traceability

Mary Mazzoni
| Wednesday September 10th, 2014 | 13 Comments

Join Triple Pundit and a panel of experts for 3p Traceability Week to discuss traceability in four controversial arenas — seafood, fashion, minerals and medical marijuana.  Ask your questions in the comments section, and follow along hereThe Q&A closes on Tuesday, September 16. 

6626081235_996c0cb8ab_zThe fashion industry has one of the most controversial supply chains out there: Finding a garment that’s made from sustainable materials by workers who were paid fair wages can seem next to impossible for concerned consumers.

Since clothing manufacturing is typically contracted out to third-party factory operators, it was once possible for big brands to claim ignorance and hide behind their convoluted supply chains — but those days are long gone. Ever since the tragic Rana Plaza factory collapse claimed the lives of 1,129 garment workers in 2013, the spotlight has increasingly centered on sustainability within the fashion supply chain — and a growing number of consumers are asking where their clothes came from.

Behind relatively simple questions — such as what a garment is made from, who made it and where — lie even more complicated queries: Is end-to-end traceability even possible? Will brands jump on board? What is already being done to pull back the veil on the fashion supply chain?

As part of 3p Traceability Week, Matthew Reynolds and Scott Leonard, co-founders of the fair trade fashion label Indigenous, will be on-hand all week to answer your questions about fashion traceability. Respond with your questions in the comments section below!

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